Purposes at cross

The Lalitpur DDC has taken the right step by issuing a notice to two stone quarries — Purna Dhunga Roda Udhyog Pvt Ltd (PDRU) and Champapur Dhunga Roda Udhyog Pvt Ltd (CDRU) — to pull down shutters until further notice. A clash among the locals, labourers and the owners of PDRU prompted such an action. The locals don’t want the government to renew the quarries’ licences as they are not only a health hazard but are also affecting the community forest and the agricultural output, causing air and noise pollution and drying up of the water sources. Since 1983, the locals’ pleadings have fallen on deaf ears and the problem is becoming more intense by the day. Similar is the case with several brick kilns dotting the surrounding areas of the Valley.

Only the government’s intervention can settle the PDRU stalemate as well as the issue of hazardous industries like stone quarries and brick kilns near the residential areas. Confining such factories to specific non-residential areas can be an option. But more importantly, the authorities will have to consider the negative fallout of industrial closures. The entrepreneurs are bound to lose business but of equal importance is their responsibility towards the society and the environment. As regards the daily wage earners, the authorities will have to provide alternate sources of employment. The Valley is already bursting at the seams and the question of unplanned and lopsided urbanisation can no long be ignored. The rising cases of respiratory ailments in the Valley are indication enough that more stringent pollution control measures need to be enforced — and observed faithfully.